Kitchener-Waterloo

High demand for flu shots in Waterloo region will require people to be patient, public health officials say

Waterloo region is unable to meet the current demand for flu shot, but acting medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang says there is still time to get the vaccine and people should be patient.

‘There will be more vaccine coming in the next few weeks,’ Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang says

Acting medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang says the current supply of flu shots the region has received to date from the province is not able to meet the demand. (David Greedy/Getty Images)

Waterloo region is unable to meet the current demand for the flu shot, but acting medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang says there is still time to get the vaccine and people should be patient.

Addressing a regional committee meeting on Tuesday, Wang said, like elsewhere in Ontario, there has been a significant demand for the flu vaccine because of COVID-19.

"The current supply that has come to us to date from the province is not able to meet that demand," Wang told councillors.

"We've obviously highlighted this to the province and they are doing their best to get us more supply as it comes in from the manufacturer."

Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang is Waterloo region's medical officer of health. (Carmen Groleau/CBC)

But she said there is nothing the regional health authorities can do to expedite shipment.

In the interim, she is urging people to be patient and make an appointment so they can get the vaccine when the next shipment arrives.

"This is a phenomenon being experienced across the province and we're continuing to keep the province informed about the demand in our area," Wang said.

"They are well aware and we understand they are doing their best to try to accommodate that as much as possible, but it is provided to the area in a proportional way."

Still time to get flu vaccine

Meanwhile, Wang is assuring people that there is still lots of time for them to get the flu vaccine. She said the general recommendation is for people to get the flu shot in November.

"The province's goal is to make sure that the supply can meet the demand … So we would ask people just to continue to try to get the vaccine in the weeks of November," Wang said.

"There will be more vaccine coming in the next few weeks and we're asking people just to try to get an appointment for the coming weeks and to look for the supply in the coming weeks."

Karen Quigley-Hobbs, director of infectious disease, dental and sexual health for the region, said public health is receiving its planned shipments of the vaccine. Those are used at public health clinics, including a drive-thru one held recently for young children, and also to help vulnerable members of the community, including people who are homeless.

"We get two auto shipments that [are] provided based on estimates that are established by the province, and then subsequent to finishing the auto shipments, we then put in regular orders," Quigley-Hobbs said.

"So right now, tomorrow we'll receive our last auto shipment and then starting next week we will begin to submit orders."

Quigley-Hobbs said they anticipate more vaccine will continue to flow, adding that the region receives weekly updates from the province in terms of supply.

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